Mumbai, October 14, 2022: Mental health has been among the leading causes of health burden worldwide since the 1990s and this trend shows no sign of slowing down. In India, it is estimated that nearly 197.3 million people require mental health care. Keeping all of these issues in mind, Mpower, a mental health social enterprise and Aditya Birla World Academy both part of Aditya Birla Education Trust, spearheaded a series of unique activities that helped spread awareness about growing mental health crisis. Among the many initiatives, the two most prominent mental health awareness initiatives were #PledgeForMentalHealth by Mpower and The Happy Place initiative by Aditya Birla World Academy an interschool competition to create mental health awareness amongst school children.
The #PledgeForMentalHealth was a virtual initiative that urged brands across corporates in India to stand united in creating awareness about mental health and pledge to implement one mental-health-friendly policy at their workplace. For instance, an organization could pledge to implement flexible work hours or a hybrid work model or they could pledge to ensure that their employees have free access to mental health services such as counselling etc. 65 corporates participated in this mental health pledge touching over 7.5 million followers spreading massive awareness for mental health on World Mental Health Day. Some prominent companies such as Aditya Birla Group companies, IPSOS, Mudrex, Artech Infosystems, Neuron Energy etc. participated in the #PledgeForMentalHealth to support its employees.
Meanwhile, The Happy Place in collaboration with Mpower was a one-of-a-kind initiative by the Aditya Birla World Academy. It qualified as India’s very first student-led mental health festival which took place on the 7th and 8th of October, creating awareness about mental health amongst school going children around the theme of ‘Resilience’ through various competitive platforms such as dance, music, street plays, poetry, videography and photography etc. Besides that, Mpower also organized many more important initiatives such as support groups that addressed and discussed various topics related to mental health, especially for marital and relationship issues, young people with anxiety and stress, for families of patients with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s, caregivers of substance users, dealing with the loss of a loved one etc. which will be continued beyond World Mental Health Day. There were also mental health awareness workshops that were organized across schools and colleges in Maharashtra by Mpower Psychologists. Furthermore, creating a powerful impact was a conversation between Dr. Neerja Birla and noted Psychiatrist, Dr. Ruksheda Sayed with 22 years of experience, on spreading awareness about ‘Emotional Abuse’ – an unspoken yet crucial aspect of mental health distress with focus on Women, Children and Men.
With all the above activities Mpower also continues to bolster its 24×7 helpline which was launched in 2020 along with the support of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). To date, the helpline has received over 99,452 calls and touched over millions of lives by creating access to mental health counselling through its various services. The toll-free multilingual 24×7 free helpline number is 1800-120-820050.
Commenting on the various initiatives, Dr. Neerja Birla, Mental Health Champion, Founder and Chairperson of Mpower, said, “Mental health is one of the most important issues of our generation and there is a silent crisis that is engulfing millions of people across the country. Every year, on October 10, World Mental Health Day is observed around the world with the aim of raising awareness about mental health issues and mobilizing support as well as creating access for mental health counselling for those in need. We at Mpower chose to mark this day with a series of initiatives that were in planning for months on end. Together, with our #PledgeForMentalHealth, The Happy Place – a student-led mental health festival organized by ABWA in association with Mpower and focus on therapies and unspoken issues such as ‘Emotional Abuse’, we want to ensure mental health is ‘spoken openly’ and ‘help’ is sort more readily, by eliminating the stigma associated to mental health.”